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Drops of Reality

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"Well, I'll be damned," Sammy allowed himself a smile as he looked down at the gagged and bound demon. "Joey, you crazy son of a bitch."

Henry nodded in agreement. "I think I speak for everyone here when I say you've officially wiped out any doubts we had about this whole thing."

"Told you I could pull it off. And I did it without any human sacrifice!"

Grinning broadly, Joey leaned down to look into the demon's eyes. "They didn't believe me when I talked about the power of belief. Yes, what happened with the rats shook things up, never mind how I transformed a dog on its last legs into a healthy, vibrant Boris. But ultimately, it was you who helped me prove them wrong."

The demon said something incomprehensible through the specially treated duct tape, prompting a laugh.

"Now, now, I did promise you a vessel in exchange for improving the Ink Machine. But..." He paused dramatically. "Don't think you're going to be coming out ahead. I'm not foolish enough to take you at your word."

With Henry's help, he lifted the demon and placed him inside the Ink Machine's entrance chamber. Then he and the other two headed upstairs, Joey pausing to give a thumbs up to Wally on the way. Catching his boss's signal, Wally flipped a switch before running to catch up. They were soon joined by Norman, Susie, and Boris, the latter trembling with excitement.

As they arrived at the entrance floor, a mass of ink emerged from the machine's exit chamber, landing on the floor with a wet splatter. Seconds later, a white-gloved hand emerged, followed by a pair of thin arms, a floating head with pointed horns, a roughly oval-shaped body with a white bowtie near where his neck would be, short legs, and feet encased in polished shoes.

The small creature collapsed onto its back, waiting for everything to stop spinning. Images flickered through his mind--of dark bargains and claiming the souls of sorcerers who thought they could get the best of him. But they felt wrong, like they shouldn't be there.

Luckily, they were quickly replaced by new images--of playful tricks and harebrained schemes, stretching and hammerspace, a wolf and an angel. Those images--those memories--felt right.

Yes, he remembered now!

"Bendy?"

Turning around, the little demon saw Joey entering. He grinned happily.

"Yup! That's me!"

As he sprang to his feet, the others entered the room, Boris's eyes lighting up upon seeing his friend.

"Hi buddy!"

"Boris!"

Watching the happy reunion, Henry gave a smile. Joey had won him over completely with this--him, and all the other employees who were in on their boss's not-quite-so-crazy plan.

"Joey, do you think we can bring Alice to life next?" Susie asked hopefully.

"Of course, my dear!"

In the back of Bendy's mind, what little remained of his previous self screamed in rage before fading completely.